In Second Life the appearance of avatar skin is the first thing that must be considered. For the newly initiated in SL, the first right of passage is selecting skin from a limited palette of colours gender and body shapes. The marketing of skins is key in this world. They never decompose and can be traded and/or stored as inventory.
Second Life visitors are invited to pose with eba_HAX for a portrait while receiving a piece of skin as a gift. The piece of skin can be attached to each avatars’ body and worn as a skin graft, an accessory or it can be discarded/deleted as waste. This performance action and series of snapshots provokes a rethinking of the exchange of skins on SL.
The trade of digital skins on SL evokes issues of proprietorship arising from the collection of organs and tissues for biotech and medical industries. SL constructs a world where skin is own by the creator and if it is lost – that is, left intentionally or unintentionally as waste ( prim clutter) – it will automatically be returned to the avatar it came from. Human skin waste, on the other hand, does not legally belong to the body it came from under certain circumstances. Hospitals, morgues, research institutions may sell amputated and/or surgically removed tissues without the consent from the “donor’.